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Colonial Cases

U.S. v. Henney and Rosenberg, 1884


U.S. v. Henney and Rosenberg

United States Consular Court, Shanghai
Cheshire, 25 March 1884
Source: North China Herald, 26 March 1884

Shanghai, 25th March 1884
Before F. D. Cheshire, Esq., U.S. Vice-Consul-general in charge, Acting Judicially.
  Thomas Heeney and Rosenberg, seamen belonging to the U.S. corvette Alert, were charged with striking Sergeant McDonald on the head with a baton, and with rescuing prisoners from the custody of the Police.
  Both defendants pleaded "not guilty."
     [A.] McDonald, Sergeant of Police, sworn, stated - At 7.15 p.m. on Sunday, I went to arrest three deserters from the Enterprise.  I was accompanied by a constable.  When we went into the 'Prince of Wales' tavern on the Yang-king-pang to make the arrest Heeney hit the constable with his fist and drove him back.  I only wanted the deserters from the Enterprise, but Rosenberg lifted a chair and threw it at me; it struck a pane of glass and went through the door outside.  I then blew my whistle and P.C. Plummer came to my assistance.  Another constable came inside and had hold of one of the deserters.  Heeney then took my truncheon from me and dealt me a blow on the head beside the top of my ar.  As blood flowed from the wound, I was sent to the doctor.  Four men attempted to rescue the deserters, and broke tables, chairs and other articles of furniture and used them as weapons during the row.
  A French policeman was next called.  He stated that McDonald was struck by someone; he did not know by whom.  There was a row at the 'Prince of Wales' tavern when the English police went to arrest the men.  The defendants were drunk and if their friends had not interfered there would have been no row.
  Heeney wanted to know who it was that struck him over the eye.
  Sergeant McDonald - I do not know.  The defendant was foremost in the melee.  Both men knew quite well what they were about.  Another man, named Gallagher, went outside and got some stones, but he was prevented from throwing them.
  W. F. Plummer, police constable, sworn, stated - On Sunday night I was on beat duty on the Yang-king-pang and I heard a police whistle blown.  As I knew some of the officers were there to arrest deserters, I ran over to the "Prince of Wales" tavern. I saw Sergeants NcDonald, Storey and Taylor there.  They told me that they had been assaulted.  Sergeant McDonald said he was going in again to arrest the absentees.  Four of us went inside.  The first man we met was Rosenberg.  He asked if we wanted him and was told no, but that we wanted the deserters from the Enterprise.  While McDonald was looking at a man lying on the ground, he was struck from behind with a truncheon.  I saw Rosenberg make a blow at McDonald with a chair, though I cannot say who struck the sergeant with the truncheon.  I was struck at the back of the head by a man named Gallagher.  He had McDonald's truncheon.  Heeney did not want us to take the deserters, and made a blow at police constable Lawrence, but I pushed him out of the house.  I stayed there till more constables came, and then we heard that the men we were after had escaped.
  Rosenberg was then sworn. He stated - A police officer tried to arrest me in mistake for a man named Thompson.  I said I was not the man. I received a blow on the cheek with a club.  I did not pick up so much as a match box to defend myself with.  I tried to stop things being broken.  I had a little drink - only a few glasses - and I knew what I was doing.  I was arrested.
  McDonald - I ordered Rosenberg to be arrested after he struck me with a chair.  I did not mistake him for one of the deserters.
  Thomas Heeney, sworn, stated - The trouble commenced owing to the Police making a mistake about Rosenberg.  I said he should not be taken.
  The Court - Was that any of your business?
  Heeney -Yes, Sr.  He was in my company at the time.
  The Court (to the police) - Did the defendants know what they were doing?
  McDonald - They did.
  Plummer - Gallagher stood at the door with an open knife and threatened to spill blood if we attempted to take any of the Enterprise men.  We could not mistake the men we wanted, owing to the ruting on their arms.
  N. Growloff, sworn, after giving similar evidence, stated - I saw Rosenberg strike Sergeant McDonald with a chair.  Gallagher drew a knife on one of us.  I did not see Heeney strike anyone.
  Rosenberg - I was struck with a weapon, though I used none myself.
  Heeney - All I can remember of the affair is that at first one officer came in alone to arrest Rosenberg.  He said "I want to take you."  He was the man that struck me.  I said Rosenberg did not belong to the Enterprise, but to the Alert.  He then struck me without any provocation.  I interfered because I knew the police had made a mistake.  I was drunk at the time, but I knew what was going on.  There was a regular melee.  I was too much under the influence of liquor to know what I did; I used no weapon. If I strike a man while I am drunk, I do so with my fists, as I am capable of taking care of myself.
Rosenberg - We were amusing ourselves when the police officer came in.  He said I was wanted, and stepped up to collar me.  Then my friends said I should not be taken.  The officers did not know whom they struck, and they hit at an old fireman who would not hurt anyone. I saw chairs and tables flying about, but I did not lift a weapon.  It was a regular drunken row, though I knew what I was doing.
  The case was then adjourned for further evidence.
.  .  .  
  Gallagher and another were next charged with assaulting constable Plummer and Growloff, and with rescuing two prisoners at the Prince of Wales tavern.  They pleaded not guilty.
  After some evidence had been taken, the second man was released.
  F. W. Plummer, sworn, stated - While we were trying to arrest absentees from the Enterprise on Sunday night, Gallagher got possession of a policeman's truncheon and made a blow at me with it.  The blow caught me at the back of the neck, and my helmet saved my head.  I was thrown out of the house.  Gallagher then stood at the door with a knife in his hand and dared us to go inside.  He said blood would be spilt if we attempted to arrest any of the Enterprise men, and that he belonged to Shanghai, and would fix some of them, as he expected to get five days' leave.  Gallagher was the chief man who caused the disturbance.  He was a good bit under the influence of liquor at the time, though he knew what he was doing.
  M. Growloff, sworn, stated - After we went out of the Prince of Wales tavern, Gallagher threatened to stab Lawrence.  He had a knife in his hand, and I struck him to make him drop it.  He then tried to throw the knife into the creek.  He assisted in throwing the tables and chairs about.
  Gallagher - Where did I get the knife from? I never carry a knife.
  Witness - The knife you had in your hand was taken from th4e table at the Prince of Wales.  There is one knife missing from there.  It was you who threw a table leg at me.
  The Court was then adjourned till next morning for the production of further evidence.

Source: North China Herald, 2 April 1884

Shanghai, 26th March 1884
Before F. D. Cheshire, Esq., U.S. Vice-Consul in charge, Acting Judicially.
  Heeney, Rosenberg and Gallagher, three seamen belonging to the U.S.S. Alert, were charged on remand with assaulting the Police and rescuing prisoners from their custody at the Prince Of Wales tavern on the evening of the 23rd inst.
  Mrs. Rosenbaum, landlady, of the Prince of wales tavern, who said she could not speak English well, and who appeared very reluctant to give evidence, said there were a lot of sailors in the house in the evening in question, and she did not know what happened.  There was no furniture broken, and she saw no fighting.  She saw the Police come in and she saw then take a man from the Alert instead of a man from the Enterprise.  She recognised Rosenberg as the man whom they took.
  Mr. Rosenbaum was then called and gave similar evidence, swearing that he saw no fighting and that the Police took Rosenberg into custody in mistake for one of the deserters from the Enterprise.
  Sergeant Taylor said he went into the public-house a little after the other men and heard Heeney saying, with an oath, "you shan't take them."  Rosenberg then took up a chair and threw it; but witness did not see whom it struck.  Gallagher took up a table, and the leg went through the window; afterwards he saw Heeney snatch Sergeant McDonald's truncheon and strike him a blow on the head with it.  A little later, he saw something glistening in Heeney's hand and heard him say to Sergeant Storey "I will ---- well knife you."  All three men were very active in resisting the Police; they had all been drinking.
  Gallagher said he had no knife.
  The Witness said Gallagher had something in his hand which looked like a knife.
  Rosenberg said he could swear that he never took up a chair, and Gallagher declared that he was not present at all during the first fracas, when he was said to have put the leg of the table through the window.
  The Witness, in answer to Chief Inspector Cameron, said the three deserters escaped in consequence of the prisoners' interference.
  Sergeant Storey said he went into the Prince of Wales tavern, into which Sergeant Mcdonald and P.C. Lawrence had gone to arrest three deserters.  He saw then on the floor, and he and Sergeant Taylor went to their assistance. He saw Rosenberg strike at Sergeant McDonald with a chair; several chairs were thrown and the window was broken. They then went out for assistance and returned with two other constables.  Sergeant McDonald had his truncheon in his hand and Keeney snatched it from him and struck him on the head with it; Gallagher then took the staff from Keeney and struck P.C. Plummer with it.  Witness did not see where the staff struck Plummer.  The police were obliged to go ou5t, and as they were leaving Gallagher came to the door and shouted out to witness, "You long ------- I will fix you before I leave Shanghai; we have five days' leave coming to us, and I am a pretty god shot."  Gallagher hade a knife in his hand at the time.  Sergeant McDonald went to the hospital and the other Police cleared out.  The men arrested for desertion got away.
  Cross-examined, the witness said he was quite sure it was a knife, and not a stone, that Gallagher had in his hand.  He was also sure that Rosenberg took up a chair, because he got a blow in the hand form it.
  P.C. Samuel Lawrence said he went into the Prince of Wales tavern, in plain clothes, and called for a drink.  He then looked round and saw two of the absentees from the Enterprise lying asleep in a corner of the room.  He said to the landlord, "You have got two absentees from the Enterprise here," and the landlord said "Yes."  Witness said "They are sleep in the corner," and the landlord said "Yes."  He then went out and returned with Sergt. McDonald and a French policeman.  They were met at the door by Sergeants Taylor and Storey, who went in with them.  Witness pointed to the sleeping men, and said "Here are the men from the Enterprise."  They were going to take them into custody, when Heeney came up, seized witness by the collar of his coat, asked him "What are you going to do?" And struck him with his fist.  Witness tried to apprehend Heeney for the assault, and then the row started.  Heeney was the worst of the lot - the first to begin, and the most violent. Witness saw Rosenberg strike Sergt. McDonald with a chair, and Heeny strike him with a truncheon.  Heeney afterwards dropped the truncheon, and Gallagher took it up and swung it about the room like a madman.  He did not see Gallagher actually strike anyone; but he believed Gallagher had a knife in his hand, because he heard him holloing out "I will put it though you."
  Cross-examined, the witness said he did not strike Heeney with his staff; it was under his clothes, and he could not get at it, because he was afraid that if he unbuttoned his coat it would be torn off his back.
  A sailor named Symonds, belonging to the Alert, was then called as a witness for the defence.  He said the Police tried to arrest Rosenberg, mistaking him for a man named Thompson, belonging to the Enterprise, who was absent without leave, and Heeney interfered. He did not see any of the prisoners strike the Police; but he saw Sergt. McDonald strike Heeney over the eye with his staff.  There were no men from the Enterprise in the4 room.
  Cross-examined, the witness admitted there was one man from the Enterprise asleep in the room.
  William Kitchen said the boys were enjoying themselves playing and dancing, when the Police came in and arrested Rosenberg, "allowing" that it was Thompson.  P.C. Lawrence was asked to show his warrant; but he said warrant or no warrant he would arrest the man if there were fifty men there.  Then Tom Heeney said "you won't take any man out here without showing your warrant," and one of the constables struck Tom on the back of the neck.  Witness saw McDonald strike Heeney over the eye with his staff.  Heeney squared up and resented the blow, but did not assault McDonald.  Witness carried out all the chairs and tables and put tem inti the dining room to prevent their being used in the disturbance.  He did not see any of the prisoners strike the Police.
  Cross-examined, the witness when asked how he came to be so thoughtful as to remove the chairs and tables, said it was because he was sober.  He admitted that he was drunk when he went to the inn; but he fell asleep and woke up sober at about three o'clock.  He denied having gone on board and told the men that they had dropped tables and chairs on the policemen's heads and sent them to the hospital.  The men who said that were not present at the disturbance at all.
  His Honour asked whether the prisoners were sober of "tight" at the time.
  The Witness said they were half tight.
  His Honour (to Sergt. McDonald ) - Did you strike Heeney or not?
  Sergt. McDonald - When the chair was thrown at me, I used my truncheon.  There were three men attacking me, and I used my truncheon.  I can't say whom I struck.
  Thomas Martin, a marine, was then called, and corroborated the evidence as to the Police having mistaken Rosenberg for Thompson.  When cross-examined, however, the witness said in reply to most questions that he did not recollect, and his Honour remarked that the witness appeared to have a very vague recollection of what took place.
   No further evidence was offered.
  His Honour said that although the evidence in this case was somewhat conflicting, he was satisfied that the prisoners were al more or less under the influence of liquor.  The Police were acting under orders from this consulate in arresting three deserters from the Enterprise, and he was satisfied that these three men, or at least t of them, were in the tavern at the time.  Whether or not it was the fact that the Police had attempted to arrest Rosenberg it was not the duty of Heeney to interfere in the least.  Gallagher appeared to have been very drunk, and to have taken a prominent part in resisting the police. It was a very serious matter to interfere with an officer empowered with a process or order from a Court to arrest anybody, and in America the offenders would be dealt with very severely.  But considering that the men were in what they called a drunken row he would let them off with a fine of $15 each.  He hoped this would be the last time they would have a case of this sort at the American Court.  They had not had such a case before, and he believed this was principally owing to the tact with which the police performed their duties.  He inflicted a fine if $15 in each case, and ordered the payment of the costs to be divided amongst the three prisoners.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School